If you get a kick out of hurtling downhill, single-track mountain biking, you’re not alone. Tough terrain ups the ante on traditional road cycling—and your body benefits from the challenge. That said, your muscles and joints can also take a beating. Want to improve your skills, bulletproof your joints, and avoid injury? Build strength, balance, and coordination with strength training specific to mountain biking.
Anyone, big or small, experienced or new to the sport, can work on those areas, says Shaums March, a technical skills coach for the USA Cycling National and Olympic team. He’s trained five World Championship riders, and is a two-time Downhill Masters World Champion himself, so he knows a thing or two about riding.
The following workout is designed to engage your core and work the muscles you commonly utilize in mountain biking, as well as improve balance and coordination—skills that make you better on the bike and less likely to get injured.
“A functional strength workout like this is something we’d give an athlete at the start of their training to test their baseline strength,” says March, who owns March Northwest, a mountain biking skills coaching and guiding company in Bellingham, WA. “Then we’d make it more challenging and add in more balance components depending on their strength level.”
The Ultimate Strength Workout for Mountain Bikers
How to do it: Complete the workout three times per week, performing each exercise for 5 sets and 10 reps.
“You could use this workout as a warmup without weights before a ride, if it’s short, too,” March notes, since you don’t want to tire yourself out before a long trek.